The procedure involves removing a single cell from a 3-day-old embryo to look for potential birth defects and is a part of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.
The technique is based on the idea that one cell can be removed for analysis from the eight cells in a 3-day-old embryo and that the remaining seven cells will grow into a healthy infant. If genetic analysis shows an abnormality, the embryo is not implanted. Even though the procedure is aimed for looking at specific genetic defects in cases where one of the parents carried the genes, practitioners have used it for screening older women who were having problems conceiving. They believed that taking out embryos with abnormalities would increase the success rate of implantation.
However, researchers showed that this technique was not helping women get pregnant. They studied over 400 women aged 35 to 41. Half of the women received IV fertilization with pre-implantation diagnosis and half in vitro alone. All of the women went through as many as three fertilization cycles.
The study results showed that 24 % of the women who received the genetic diagnosis had successful births in comparison to 35 % of the women who did not.